My cars are driving me nuts. At least, mine is. In July, I noticed that the air conditioning on my 2003 Kia Sedona wasn’t blowing cold. We were driving around on a Saturday, and I popped into a Monro to ask if they could do a recharge. I’d been taking my car to Monro in Stratford for oil changes for years, and I found out that some of the guys from Stratford now work in Williamstown. It turned out that I apparently had a bad shredder valve, and they couldn’t get one until a weekday. That was the week of my marathon trip trying to get back from Maine, so I was able to bring my car in the following Saturday. The valve was replaced, coolant was added, and we drove off. Three weeks later, the air wasn’t working again. I called and made an appointment, and I brought the car in after work one day. My wife learned her lesson about bringing both boys to sit at Monro for an hour and a half just to save a little gas on our errands.
This time, the air held out for about a week, then the coolant was gone again. I brought the car back in to find that now my high pressure hose was bad. Being a Friday afternoon, about 4:45, no Kia parts center was available anywhere in the world so I had to wait until Monday. In the meantime, my ‘95 Windstar needed a $1400 front end/power window job plus another $100 when the muffler dropped down. At first it looked like the hose for my Kia was on national backorder, but the guy at Monro followed up and found out that somebody was using the wrong part number. We’re not dealing with highly intelligent or motivated people here (the Kia parts people, not Monro.) The part wasn’t on the shipment to Monro yesterday, so the mechanic drove to Cherry Hill to get it today. I took my car and Caleb to Monro. I also found a screw in my tire, but that was a quick fix.
The part was replaced, and Caleb and I started driving home, when all hell broke loose. We stopped at Wawa. When I came out, I noticed that the air wasn’t blowing cold again. I wondered how it could be shot just a few miles down the road. Then I noticed what looked like a faint light behind my battery and brake lights on the dash. I figured it had to be my imagination. I turned the air off and on and got it blowing cold again. When I came to a stop, just to see if the light was my imagination or not, I pushed down on the emergency brake a click. The light came on full, but my ABS light came on also. I just about freaked. I shut the emergency brake off and started driving. Then, I noticed whenever I hit the brake pedal, the radio would shut off. Now I was freaking out. I pulled into a shopping center to call Monro and tell them I was going to try to make it back. Of course, my wife was just leaving the same shopping center, so she called me to ask why I had pulled in there. I was a little worried, and asked if she could let me get off the phone to call Monro. They told me to come back, so I did.
Monro is near Sam’s club, and my wife made it there on her errands, so Caleb and I walked over. When we made it back to Monro, I learned that my Sedona’s alternator wasn’t charging the battery. Crap. I had no choice but to leave it there. They won’t be able to do anything until Tuesday because nobody is open until then (Monro is, but no parts places are.) Apparently, all the parts places are union and of course that means they don’t work any hours that are useful to anybody. I won’t take that thought any farther.
I called my wife. Caleb and I had to wait for her to make it back. We’re down to one car for most of the next week. I walked over to the Verizon store by Monro, but then I realized that the odds of me switching to Verizon are very low. I percieve them to be way overpriced for what they offer. I have a Verizon Blackberry for work, and I don’t see it having any better coverage than my AT&T phone. Not that I like AT&T at all, but at least they don’t go out of their way to neuter any useful capabilities on their phones unless you want to pay extra for that feature.